How to list coauthors on CV

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How to list coauthors on CV

Postby Carmen » Sat Dec 04, 2004 10:06 pm

When I switched the order of the names on my CV, I did put a "star" on every co-first authors and denoted it as "equal contribution authors".

I think that in any situation, it is a given to make sure that people know the publication is a co-first authored paper.


How to list coauthors on CV

Postby Andrew » Sun Dec 05, 2004 9:55 am

I've been publishing in both chemistry and physics for 20 years and I've never known a journal that requires alphabetical order. Do any of you know one? The order of authors is a P.I. choice, not a journal editor one. The reason that we look at first author papers on CVs is that most papers do not use alphabetical listings and the order of authors does reflect the P.I.s opinion of the order of contribution. I've never even heard of this "co-first author" nonsense until I read about it on this forum and I suspect most hiring managers won't have either. Unless you are in a field where papers have 30 authors, like nuclear and particle physics, it is expected that you will have some first author papers from your thesis work. If not, its a red flag. It won't eliminate you, but it will raise questions. However, if I find someone switching names on their publication list (something it takes me all of 30 seconds to check out with SciFinder), that will end their candidacy.
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How to list coauthors on CV

Postby zweisteinsbitte » Sat Dec 11, 2004 11:21 am

Anyone who drops a cv in the trash can because of co author mis listing has a short personal memory.

How to list coauthors on CV

Postby Emil Chuck » Sun Dec 12, 2004 9:19 am

Having been a lucky soul to have my name listed first in a shared first-author publication, I do commiserate (though happy I got listed first).

My personal opinion is to asterisk the article before the first author to note papers in which you have shared primary author responsibility. If you have THAT many, may I suggest a separate section of shared first-author publications (especially "consortium"-based papers for which there are like 40 authors with 5 first-authors...).
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How to list coauthors on CV

Postby Andrew » Sun Dec 12, 2004 6:21 pm

"Anyone who drops a cv in the trash can because of co author mis listing has a short personal memory"

I take exception to your inference that everyone does or has done this (rearranged co-authors). It shows a lack of integrity and is a perfectly legitimate reason to toss someone's application. FYI, I have also tossed resumes for lies about education, salary, and accomplishments.
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How to list coauthors on CV

Postby Ken » Mon Dec 13, 2004 9:50 am

Andrew, I think you've misunderstood. We're not talking about having the whole list of authors being alphabetized and then asking if we can rearrange to make ourselves first. What we're talking about is the (somewhat) rare situation where the first two authors (sometimes more) are deemed to be equal and are BOTH actually the first author (as decided by the senior author). In that situation, it is customary to alphabetize them, and one has to be listed first and one second and as asterisk is used that says something like "these two authors contributed equally". But seeing as how they are both actually first, there is a question as to whether you can rearrange them.

In situations where they aren't alphabetized (or coin tossed or something random), I would argue that the asterisk is actually unwarranted, and there probably is an actual first and second author. In that case, it's ethically wrong to use the asterisk in the first place, no less change the order later. If two people actually worked together equally, punishing one of them for not pushing the other aside to get his or her extra 1% piece of the paper is just wrong (but par for the academic course, I suppose).

As an aside, I think Dave should run an experiment and ask an ethicist whose name doesn't begin with an "F".....
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How to list coauthors on CV

Postby GAT » Mon Dec 13, 2004 3:43 pm

Dear Carmen,

I was working with a fellow postdoc in a project, and so far we had published two "equal contribution" papers. In one of them, he was the first author, in the second one I was the first author. I am just mentioning this that I had first hand experience with this "equal contribution" phenomenon.

I strongly belive that one should not tamper with the order of authorship as one should not tamper with data on a CV and the CV should reflect the truth only the truth about the applicant. If the recruiter does not care about your papers that you are listed as the second author with asterix, so be it !. I dont believe that a career will be made or broken just because of the order of the authorship in "equal contribution" paper. It simply does not worth to compensate (or at least raise suspicion about) the integrity of yourself.

Gokce Toruner

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How to list coauthors on CV

Postby Bill L. » Mon Dec 13, 2004 4:19 pm

Hi Carmen,

I like your idea of using the headers to illuminate the reader:
First author and co-first author research papers
Middle author research papers
Review and Book Chapters

But what about just two sections, seeing as what you're talking about is trying to highlight the experiences where you took on the major responsibility to bring a publication into being. So:

First author and co-first author research papers
Additional Publications

Also, remember that there is a chance in the cover letter to discuss your co-first authorships, all of your authorships in fact, in terms of your communication and collaboration skills.

Be well,

Bill L. & Naledi S.
Bill L.
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How to list coauthors on CV

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon Dec 13, 2004 5:28 pm

Ken wrote : "As an aside, I think Dave should run an experiment and ask an ethicist . . . "

Just an FYI Ken. On these threads, I consider it a part of my job as the moderator to bring in "outside talent." Heck, that's what my day job is as well, as a headhunter. Anyway, I've tried to "recruit" a friend of mine who is another leading bioethicist to come to the forum and respond. But, please don't expect miracles, as the fact remains that this is a very contentious subject, and everyone has a different view. Most likely, even the ethics professionals!

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How to list coauthors on CV

Postby Jeffrey Kahn » Mon Dec 13, 2004 8:06 pm

[Dave asked me to take a look and react to this thread.]

My quick take on this is that articles are (and can only be) published with only one first author, and that first authorship has meaning that isn't something people can or should honestly claim by moving around authorship order on their CV's. On the receiving end, if I were to see a person listed as first author on their CV and then notice that they were deeper in the authorship order when reading the actual article, it would raise concerns about misrepresentation--what else is the person representing that isn't exactly the truth? Is misrepresentation unethical? Hard to argue that it's not.

The best way to handle this is to negotiate order at the time of submission for publication. If there is a question of equal contribution then I think the best option is to note the equal contribution in a footnote to the actual article, saying that while both authors contributed equally, convention requires one author being listed first. . . .

Failing that, I noticed that one person suggested an asterisk or some other notation in the CV to highlight the articles on which the person deems their contribution as equivalent to first authorship status. But realize that it is their claim only, and if it is not backed up by the only objective information (the published article) it may backfire.

Best, Jeff
Jeffrey Kahn


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